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Cloud Computing


Special report


Dave Carmichael, manager, B2B Integration product marketing, Sterling Commerce, an IBM company.


<< the time we can pretty much be 100 per cent


dependent on the Cloud providers in terms of their own security is probably coming, and using any weaknesses on their part as an excuse for lack of adoption will probably run thin soon,” he said.


Advances in security


Simon Black, managing director at Sage Pay, also homes in on the subject of security as sometimes cited as remaining concern. “However, over the past five years there have been huge advances in this area,” he maintains. “Also, in terms of integration there are advances through things such as XML 5, so the ability to customise and integrate with web-based applications has come a long way. So, in terms of security and risk generally around data security etc. there’s always some level of risk, but even if you’re managing your data privately within your business and you try to protect it with firewalls there’s nothing that’s absolutely foolproof. In the same way, if somebody really wants to get into your house, ultimately they will do it. But if you have an alarm, window locks and extra security locks on your front door potential thieves will be less and less motivated to break in. At Sage we have put a lot of resource into all kinds of penetration testing and inscription. We also have in-house competence available, so we use third-party experts to try to break through our system, just so we can ensure it is as safe as it possibly can be.


Simon Black, managing director, Sage Pay.


Andrew Bond, core technology director at Oracle EMEA, considers that users place a


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MANUFACTURING &LOGISTICS


IT December 2010


lot of faith in the Cloud itself because they are deploying information to something that is faceless, whether that be the public or private Cloud. “How do I know for example that this shared resource has the same support for encryption of the data as it would have within my own silo application development?,” he said. For Brown, there is a gap between perception and reality around the public Cloud. “I personally believe the level of security is a lot better than many think it is,” he said. “Some of the technologies available – such as virtual computing which Amazon offers and the secure data connection that Google offers – actually provide very good security. And there are providers out there that offer users the opportunity to extend the firewall from their private enterprise virtually around their slice of the public Cloud. So the Cloud can be very secure indeed.” However, Brown reflects that there are lots of regulatory compliance issues that prevent people from leveraging the public Cloud, whether it is secure or not. “For example, if legal compliance means you are not allowed to keep your data out of the UK for whatever reason, then the public Cloud is closed off to you.”


Andrew Bond, core technology director, Oracle EMEA.


Raghavan Subramanian, associate VP, Cloud Computing at Infosys, also focuses on the point that many countries have legal requirements in place to keep data from leaving their shores. “So in the case of a global Cloud provider who is handling a company’s data across multiple data centres, you could potentially have a non-compliance situation,” he said. “Most companies are used to storing their data in their own data centre, and so it is solely owned and accessed by them. But with a


public Cloud you don’t necessarily know on which particular server your virtual machine is running. It’s like living in an apartment and not knowing who your neighbour is.” Bond also considers the compliance issue. “There are lots of compliance reasons why maybe you can’t legally ship your data beyond a certain geographic region,” he said. “And this could be a major drawback if you have complete abstraction, so you need something that is slightly more granular than this.” He added that other concerns are quality of service and scalability capability.


K Ananth Krishnan, VP and chief technology officer at Tata Consultancy Services, maintains that all key concerns relate to public Clouds. He makes the point that there are alternative deployment models possible such as private Clouds, which do not have such similar concerns. “We have to start with the premise that not all applications are suitable for Cloud, so one has to select the right application portfolio,” he said. “As with many concerns around a new technology, a few may be real concerns, while the rest may be a matter of perception, so a careful analysis has to be done.” His view is it is also clear that some of the concerns, such as data location and legal compliance in different territories, may not go away soon and may even need the intervention of legal authorities to formulate a policy, while issues such as quality of service may need a careful analysis to see if the applications really need that kind of quality of service and what kind of quality of service is provided by the user’s IT department. “There is a trade-off between the price point and the quality of service provided by the public cloud providers, and based on the analysis it may be possible to choose an enterprise-class public Cloud provider, or use third-party products in combination with public Clouds to meet many of the concerns,” he said, adding: “Finally, the public Cloud providers are rapidly improving their offering, so we may hope to see many of these concerns addressed in the future.” >>


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